The Sad Story of Adbusters' Little Pig and What It's Telling Us About America

By November 28, 2007

Black Friday, really is a black day. Andrew Revkin, from DotEarth, and Kate, one of the readers of this blog, both called my attention to a very sad case of corporate sponsorship. What’s involved? A TV ad from Adbusters promoting

Buy Nothing Day:     Here is a reprint of the press release from Adbusters: Now in its 15th year, the popular Buy Nothing Day is celebrated every November by environmentalists, social activists and concerned citizens in as many as 65 countries. Timed to coincide with Black Friday (this year on Friday, November 23) in the United States, and the unofficial start of the holiday shopping season internationally (on Saturday, November 24), the festival takes many shapes, from relaxed family outings, to free, non-commercial street parties, to politically charged public protests. Anyone can take part provided they spend a day without spending. Featured in recent years by the likes of CNN, USA Today, MSNBC, Wired, the BBC, The Age and the CBC, the global event has been gained mainstream momentum in recent years as the climate crisis drives people to seek out greener alternatives to unrestrained consumption. Last week, the Adbusters Media Foundation attempted to purchase airtime from MTV for a 30-second commercial promoting Buy Nothing Day 2007. The inoffensive spot uses an animated pig to illustrate the voracious habits of the average North American consumer; it can be viewed online at MTV Networks refused to air the spot in light of its social and environmental message, with MTV Advertising Standards representative Elisa J. Billis explaining that “The spot goes further than we are willing to accept on our channels.” What saddens me most, is not so much MTV’s reaction, as what it symbolizes in terms of the American culture. Consumption is the engine that drives our country. Beaucoup dollars are involved, and the little pig is foraging where it shouldn’t. There are certain things in this country that cannot be questioned, and consumption is one of them. The pig is doing a good job of stirring the pot. It is important to recognize however, that trying to fight consumption in this country, and other ‘developed countries‘ for that matter, is a lost cause. Nowhere was it more clear to me, than during my recent visit to the San Francisco Green Festival. As I suggest in ‘Green Festival or Celebration of Green Consumption?‘, a better question to ask, is how can we redirect consumption towards greener alternatives? By La Marguerite, Atelier's green contributor FEEDBACK For comments on this article, email us at

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